Over the last couple of weeks a controversy has been brewing over the character design and art style used in Vanillaware’s 2D fantasy action RPG Dragon’s Crown. The bulk of the “discussion” started with a Kotaku article calling out George Kamitani (the game’s designer) for making the Sorceress character appear as if she was designed by “a 14-year-old-boy.” This article blew up into a huge issue when Kamitani responded, and then it later settled down after he apologized for the “lighthearted joke.”
Normally, this would be the point where the Dragon’s Crown story would slowly start to disappear off the gaming press radar. And it likely would have, if not for a Gearbox artist who has decided to weigh in with her own juvenile comments on Kamitani’s Dragon’s Crown art style.
Speaking on the EscapistMagazine forums on April 26th, Gearbox Software environmental artist Shaylyn Hamm started out by offering her take on how the type of art style used for the characters in Dragon’s Crown could serve to make the video game industry less inclusive towards females.
“I wanted to come in here and say something… I want to see more women getting interested in games and game development, but stuff like this only serves to further cement the idea that you’re stepping into a male hobby rather than something that is more inclusive.”
At this point in the conversation Hamm has made a very good argument as to why it might not be a good idea to use such sexually exaggerated art styles in video games. It is just too bad that she didn’t stop there.
“Also, this is the first time I’ve seen that character and holy s**t, ahahahahahaha. That’s actually something that made its way into a basically finished video game, f**king lol! Some juvenile delinquent kid in my 5th grade class used to draw girls that looked like that (only without the creepy blank, featureless samefaces and wizard hats), and I think he was actually better at it. I also think he’s in jail now. This is amazing.”
Aside from the fact that she basically brought herself down to the level of a 5th grader with this comment, it is also hard to ignore that Shaylyn Hamm works for Gearbox Software. This is the same company that gave us Borderlands,
and its downloadable content,
and Borderlands 2,
and Duke Nukem Forever (which they went out of their way to make sure got finished).
Now, I certainly don’t blame Hamm for all, or any, of Gearbox’s overt use of semi and fully exposed breasts to sell their games. However, the fact that she works for this company certainly puts her in a position where it might not be a good idea to throw too many stones at George Kamitani over the art style in Dragon’s Crown. I mean, at least Kamitani had the good sense not to include Mary and Kate Holsom in his game.